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16 September 2021

Brutal Boris! How the papers reacted to Prime Minister’s Cabinet reshuffle

16 September 2021

The Prime Minister’s move to change his senior team has prompted a mixed response from the national newspapers on Thursday, with some calling it “brutal” and others expressing dismay at the “minor miracle”.

The Guardian’s acting deputy political editor Jessica Elgot opens her analysis piece by noting Boris Johnson has sacked 27 Cabinet ministers in his two years in Downing Street.

“His three reshuffles so far have been brutal, rejecting any attempt at a broad church,” Ms Elgot adds.

The PM has sacked his “blundering Cabinet allies”, according to the front page of the i, while analysis in the Daily Mirror says the “clear-out of duffers is too little too late”.

The Daily Telegraph’s front page casts former Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and newly appointed Housing Secretary Michael Gove as being among those to “lose out”, though inside the paper’s deputy politics editor Lucy Fisher describes Mr Raab as a “natural fit” for his new Ministry of Justice portfolio.

His replacement at the Foreign Office, Liz Truss, is described by Ms Fisher’s colleague Juliet Samuel as “used to being underestimated” but also someone who “could well be a future Tory leader”.

New Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has been touted as a potential leader of her party (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Wire)

The reorganisation of the Government’s top members “removes under-performers and shows political acumen in new appointment”, reports The Times’s leader, which notes the new Cabinet has been billed to ‘build back better’, adding: “It had better get building.”

The Daily Express uses its front page to call the reshuffle a “ruthless cull” by the PM that has been implemented “to deliver Britain’s future”.

Express columnist Leo McKinstry says the move “was a blood transfusion rather than a drastic surgery”, before adding: “But up against woeful Labour, that is perhaps all the Tories need.”

Metro chooses to focus on sacked education secretary Gavin Williamson, with the paper’s front page headline riffing on the politician’s comment that Russia should “go away and shut up” when he served as defence secretary.

The Sun’s ex-political editor Trevor Kavanagh expresses joy at Mr Williamson’s departure, as he writes in the paper’s opinion section: “Thank God, bungling Education ‘supremo’ Gavin Williamson is gone at last.”

The Daily Star describes Mr Johnson as having “juggled his cabinet of clowns”, with the paper’s leader referring to the reshuffle as a “minor miracle”.

Conservative Party chairman Oliver Dowden has told members to start preparing for an election “possibly only two years off”, according to the front of the Daily Mail.

Inside, the paper covers “new queens of the jungle” Ms Truss and Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries, with Andrew Pierce saying the latter will “be an extremely robust voice in the Cabinet against the woke brigade”.

The Independent, meanwhile, says the point of the reshuffle “is not so much to steer the Government in some radical new course, but more to address the competence gap that has plagued the government for so long, and done so much damage to its reputation, and the welfare of the country”.

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